> Folk Music > Songs > The Lonesome Scenes of Winter
The Lonesome/Dark/Stormy Scenes of Winter / Here's My Heart Come Take It
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Edith Fowke: The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs
John Leahy of Douro, Ontario, sang The Lonesome Scenes of Winter to Edith Fowke in 1958. This recording was included in Fowke's 1973 book The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs and in the accompanying 1975 Leader album Far Canadian Fields where she noted:
Sung by John Leahy, Douro, Ontario, 1958.
This ballad is rather puzzling. Although it resembles several British ballads about girls who scorn their suitors, this form has been found only in North America. Also, although it is quite widespread in tradition, having turned up in half a dozen states as well as in Nova Scotia and Ontario, it does not seem to have been spread through broadsides or songsters.
It has been particularly popular in Canada. Helen Creighton collected four versions in Nova Scotia and two in New Brunswick, and both Kenneth Peacock and Carrie Grover give still other versions. In Ontario both Mr Abbott and Mr Leahy knew it. All versions follow much the same pattern, but are marked by minor variations.
References: Laws NAB 236; Creighton FSNB 112-4; Creighton and Senior 209-12; Grover 152; JAF 57(1944) 73; Peacock 445-6.
Texas Gladden sang a fragment of Dark Scenes of Winter to Alan Lomax in Salem, Virginia on 29 August 1959. This recording was included in 2001 on her Rounder anthology Ballad Legacy.
Graham and Sheila Nelmes sang The Lonesome Scenes of Winter in 1983 on their Traditional Sound album High Is the Tower. They noted:
A North American song from The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs. The tune though, came via Sam Stephens and Anne Lennox-Martin. The rejected sailor shows a refreshingly philosophical attitude by immediately searching for another love.
Belshazzar's Feast sang Lonesome Scenes of Winter in 2009 on their WildGoose album Frost Bites. They noted:
A North American song from John Leahy of Douro, Ontario, collected by Edith Fowke in 1958, who issued it on the Leader label (Far Canadian Fields) and in the Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs.
Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett sang Stormy Scenes of Winter in 2013 on their WildGoose album Buy It, Try It (And Never Repent You). They noted:
Ron's wife, Maddy, found this in Traditional Songs of Nova Scotia by Helen Creighton. A night-visiting song in which the lover's advances are rejected. After a short bout of ranting and raving, he arrives at the sensible conclusion that the only thing for him to do is to seek his pleasures elsewhere.
Rachel Newton sang Here's My Heart Come Take It as the title track of her 2016 CD Here's My Heart Come Take It. She noted:
Words taken from the Max Hunter Folk Song Collection, music by Rachel Newton
John Leahy sings The Lonesome Scenes of Winter
As the lonesome scenes of winter in stormy winds do blow,
Clouds around the centre incline to frost and snow.
You're the girl I have chosen to be my only dear;
Your scornful heart is frozen and drifted far I fear.
One night I went to see my love; she proved most scornfully.
I asked her if she'd marry; she would not marry me.
“The night it is far spent, my love, it's near the break of day,
And I'm waiting for an answer: my dear, what do you say?”
“I can but plainly tell you, I'll lead a single life.
I never thought it fitting that I should be your wife.
Now take a civil answer and for yourself provide.
I have another sweetheart, and you I have laid aside.”
Now my mind is changing that old love for the new,
This wide and lonesome valley I mean to ramble through
In search of someone handsome that might my fancy fill.
This world is wide and lonesome; if she don't, another will.
Texas Gladden sings Dark Scenes of Winter
Dark scenes of winter,
run chains of frost and snow,
Dark clouds around me hovering, the chilly wind doth blow.
I went to see my true love;
she grew most scornfully.
I asked her to marry; she would not answer me.
The night was swiftly rolling on,
't was almost break of day.
“I'm waiting for an answer: my love, what do you say?”
“Kind Sir, if I must answer,
I choose a single life.
I never thought it suited for me to be your wife.”
“The birds are singing sweetly
on every bush and vine.
My joys would be doubled if you were only mine.”
I wrote her a letter,
I'll send it back in speed,
Saying, “Once I loved you dearly, I loved you once indeed.
“But since my mind has changed,
I look another way,
Upon a prettier damsel, where love can have its way.
“Upon a prettier damsel,
where love can have its fill.
If one won't say yes, there are others that will.”
Rachel Newton sings Here's My Heart Come Take It
I went to see my true love, she drew me scornfully.
I asked her would she marry, she would not answer me.
“It's growing most late my darling, it's almost break of day,
I'm waiting for an answer, dear girl, what do you say?”
Kind sir to be my say-so, I choose a single life.
I never thought it suited for me to be your wife.
So take this for an answer and for yourself provide;
I loved you once, my darling, but now you're laid aside.”
In the course of three weeks longer, this lady's mind did change.
She's written me a letter saying, “Love, I am ashamed.
Love, if I have slighted you, I hate to hear you moan,
So here's my heart, come take it and claim it as your own.”
I've written her an answer, sent it back at great speed,
Saying, “I loved you once my darling, I loved you once indeed.
But since your mind did changing, I looked some other way,
I looked upon some damsel more suitable for me.
I looked upon some damsel where love can have its fill,
This world is wide and lonely, if one won't another will.”